Inside: Fighting against male infertility? Here are 26 foods that increase sperm count naturally + helpful vitamins and minerals and foods to avoid!
Traditionally, when a couple has struggled to get pregnant the focus usually goes to what’s wrong with the woman’s reproductive system.
But we now know there can be be problems with both men and women when it comes to having a child. Male infertility is an increasingly common condition that is gaining more attention in the medical world.
To put it in technical terms, sperm counts have dropped by 59 percent over the past 38 years! These rising numbers are due to multiple factors including more hormones in our foods, changing diets and differences in lifestyle.
All of these elements can lead to reduced sperm count, which can greatly affect the chances of getting pregnant. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to help combat these issues.
Along with getting help from a doctor and traditional medicine, men can also make lifestyle changes to include more exercise and stress relief, as well as changes in the way they eat.
Food is way more powerful than we think when it comes to regulating our body’s hormones and its normal working order.
So, here are 26 foods that increase sperm count naturally, plus tips to improve sperm health (motility, quality, production)!
Foods That Increase Sperm Count
Eggs help in the production of healthier and stronger sperm. They are a great source of protein and work to safeguard sperm from damaging free radicals.
2. Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
Spinach and leafy greens are great sources of Folic acid. This acid is integral for healthy sperm development. Men with higher levels of folic acid may also have reduced numbers of abnormal sperms which increases the likelihood of implantation of the egg.
Bananas are packed with vitamins such as A, B1 and C. These vitamins help the body create healthier and stronger sperm cells. Bananas also have an enzyme called Bromelain which prevents inflammation and improves sperm count and quality.
Asparagus is high in Vitamin C and has several positive effects on sperm. It helps to combat free radicals and protects testicular cells allowing for better sperm quality, motility and volume.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is replete with L-Arginine HCI, an amino acid that can provide higher sperm counts and volume. It’s also a great antioxidant that can improve the health of sperm.
Walnuts, along with other nuts can be a great source of healthy fats and protein. Good fats are needed to create the cell membrane for sperm cells. Omega-3 fatty acids promote blood flow to the testicles and can help with sperm volume. Walnuts contain arginine which also contributes to higher sperm count and antioxidants that are helpful for removing toxins from the bloodstream.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterol, which has been shown to increase testosterone production. They are also a good source of omega 3’s which improve blood circulation and semen output.
Kiwi contains almost all the daily recommended value of Vitamin C for men making it a great food choice for those suffering from male infertility. See the important benefits of Vitamin C for sperm count and sperm health below.
Oysters are a good source of Zinc and can stimulate the reproductive system by providing glycogen and taurine.
Salmon is a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids as well as a good source of protein. Omega 3’s can help increase the quality of sperm and therefore boost the chances of fertility.
Sardines are another great source of Omega 3’s. While they are an acquired taste, their benefits can be very powerful for men with poor sperm health and volume. If you don’t like the taste of sardines, you can also try chia seeds and ground flaxseeds.
Eating shrimp can improve the health and motility of sperm. They are a good source of protein and packed with vitamins like B3, B6, B12 and vitamin D. Shrimp and prawns also provide nutritional value with helpful amounts of selenium.
13. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts contain selenium that is a trace mineral responsible for increasing sperm motility, especially in combination with Vitamin E.
14. Goji Berries
Goji berries are a “superfood’ from India. It is said that goji berries can improve the temperature around the scrotum sac which can improve the conditions for sperm production. It is also another great antioxidant that can be used to improve the motility of sperm and therefore, fertility.
Allicin is an important nutrient found in Garlic. It helps with stimulating blood circulation to sexual organs. Garlic is also a good source of selenium, an enzyme that has been shown to improve sperm motility.
Pomegranates are considered to be an aphrodisiac and can improve sex drive. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants which are great for improving the quality and level of sperm. This fruit can be consumed raw or by drinking its juice.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, another antioxidant, responsible for maintaining healthy sperm by safeguarding the body from free radicals. It can also help sperm reach the egg by improving motility.
Lentils that are cooked, are an excellent source of folic acid. This acid is an important driving force in the production of sperm cells. Low levels of folic acid may lead to chromosomal abnormalities in men.
Red meats aren’t always touted as a healthy choice, but in moderation, they can be beneficial for men with low sperm counts. It’s a triple threat, containing folic acid, selenium and zinc, making it a powerhouse of nutrients for increasing sperm production and mobility.
20. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a healthy fat that can improve sperm count and quality. It helps to lower levels of bad cholesterol and increases oxygen flow to the testicles.
Regular consumption of tomatoes can be great for male infertility. They contain an antioxidant called lycopene which is known to improve the structure and activity of sperm.
Other berries along with goji berries and bananas, are great sources of antioxidants. They also have anti-inflammatory properties with nutrients from quercetin and resveratrol.
Avocados are a great source of essential fatty acids which are important for semen production. These fruits are also full of important vitamins like K, B6, B9, C, and E. They are also a good source of magnesium and potassium.
Given what we know about vitamin C, Guava had to make this list of good foods for sperm count. Guava has the highest Vitamin C content of all fruits. Vitamin C can have a huge impact on sperm motility, with one study showing it to push low sperm motility (from 30%) to above the 50% threshold which is considered normal.
25. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are another nutrient-dense food, filled with healthy vitamins, crucial to normal sperm production and quality. They are a great source of Vitamin C, B6, and Folate. Green, Orange, and Red bell peppers are a great food for improving fertility.
Oranges are a great source of vitamin C, with one cup containing 160% of the recommended daily value. They are a powerful antioxidant and immune booster, great at protecting cells from environmental damage.
Helpful Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements
The sperm-friendly foods listed above are rich in the vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy sperm creation. But if you don’t like these foods or want more options, you can always substitute with their pill or liquid forms.
Listed below are all of the most important vitamins, herbs and supplements that can be taken to increase sperm count along with choosing the right foods.
However, you should keep in mind that these vitamins and minerals are generally better absorbed from whole foods.
Dehydration can decrease the amount and health of seminal fluid. Drinking enough water is important to overall health and can’t be forgotten when working to improve fertility.
Zinc plays in important part in the production of sperm cells. Men with a zinc deficiency often have decreased sperm motility. Keeping those levels high can result in a higher sperm count and increased fertility. Barley, beans and red meat are a great source of Zinc.
Vitamin C is a a powerful antioxidant that can help protect sperm from environmental pollutants and free radicals. A scientific study of male infertility has shown that taking 1,000 mg of Vitamin C 2 times a day for up to 2 months can increase sperm count by more than 100% and can improve sperm motility by 92%. Vitamin C can also reduce the number sperm cell deformities by 55%.
This important vitamin is known to support overall health in both men and women and can protect the body from reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are often responsible for chronic diseases and inflammation. Vitamin E is a great antioxidant that works to improve sperm motility and quality and is often advocated by fertility specialists.
Folic acid is crucial in preventing chromosomal abnormalities in men. It also works as a catalyst for sperm production. Higher levels of folic acid can increase the chances of successful egg penetration due to healthier sperm.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 assist in the healthy development of the sperm membrane. They also increase blood flow to the testicles which can boost the volume of sperm.
Vitamin D can help boost testosterone levels and a high volume of Vitamin D has been linked to greater sperm motility.
This herb has been shown to increase male libido and erectile function. While it does not increase sperm count or testosterone levels, it can be helpful for male infertility. Consult with your doctor before use and use in moderation.
Fenugreek extracts and supplements such as Testofen can help increase testosterone levels in men who take 500mg daily. These extracts can also improve strength and libido.
Ashwagandha is a popular Indian herb that has been shown to increase testosterone levels in men. Taking 675mg per day over a period of 3 months can increase sperm count by 167%, the volume of semen by 53% and motility by 57%.
Research has shown that men who consume Maca root have a higher volume of semen and their sperm tends to have better motility. Maca root can also improve erectile dysfunction and male libido.
Foods to Avoid
Eliminating harmful foods from our diets is just as important as adding in more healthy options and increasing important vitamins and minerals. For example, males who increase the amounts of trans fat in their diets can see a proportionate decrease in their sperm counts.
So, here’s a list of major foods to avoid when trying to improve male fertility.
- Fried Foods
- Processed Meats
- Alcohol (can lower testosterone levels and affect the health of sperm)
- Soy and Estrogen Rich Foods
- High Fat Dairy Products (contains estrogen which can decrease sperm production)
Once you do get pregnant, you’ll want to learn what foods are safe during pregnancy. Here are some helpful resources to get you started.
- Is it safe for Pregnant Women Eat Ice Cream?
- Can Pregnant Women Eat Feta Cheese?
- Is Gatorade safe for pregnant women?
- Can Pregnant Women Eat Sour Cream?
- Is Elderberry Safe During Pregnancy?
What did you think of these foods that increase sperm count? Let me know if I missed any good ones in the comments!